Postcrossing has become quite well-known I think, but if you’ve…
There’s something very special about exchanging letters with someone, which could never be replicated by email or text message. This ‘something’ is built up of many factors, which I aim to explore in this article. At least, this is my take on it; other letter writers may, of course, feel differently.
The time someone has gifted
Writing a letter takes time. This means you are taking time out of our hectic modern world to sit down and pen a letter to someone; you are gifting them with your time, and your full attention. The recipient is in the sender’s mind the entire time they are writing. In fact, when I have received a letter, I often mull over that letter and my response in my head for a few days too, before putting pen to paper. A text message would never be granted this much attention.
Getting to know someone
The older we get, the less opportunity there is to meet new people, or the harder some of us find it to pursue new friendships. Yet getting to know someone can be a wonderful thing, and it shouldn’t have to stop in adulthood. Pen-palling is a great opportunity to meet somebody new without the fear of embarrassment – both parties want to meet a new friend. If a new pen pal lives abroad, you can also find out all about their country of residence, their culture, their politics, and so on.
Reaching new depths
In our busy lives, it can be hard to spare the time to connect with people on a deeper level. Some people might be embarrassed to discuss emotions and ‘gritty’ topics face-to-face. When writing a letter, we feel safe and free to spill our hearts and share what is truly on our minds. We can discuss situations and people from our ‘real lives’, as it is separate from our relationship with our pen pal and they don’t know the people involved. In this way, we can share more with our pen pals than with the people we are closest to in our day-to-day lives.
Slowing the pace
Writing a letter is a slower process than most, and it encourages you to think more about what you are saying. Many of us fire off text messages without giving them a second thought, but wouldn’t dream of doing that with a letter.
I’m a big fan of stationery, so I enjoy seeing the paper and envelopes my pen pals have chosen to use for each letter they send, as well as how they have decorated them.
The letter on the doormat
Nothing beats the excitement of getting home to find a handwritten letter on the doormat! My head instantly fills with thoughts as my eyes take in the wonderful sight: “Is that letter really just for little old me? I’m so lucky! What will it say? What will I learn?”
I am a letter addict, plain and simple. If you’re a fellow letter writer you might relate to some of my points, or perhaps you’ll have some more to add. Please do let me know in the comments below.